AMSTERDAM, N.Y. – Fifty New York Army National Guard Soldiers helped feed 1000 people in Amsterdam, N. Y. on Friday April 24, as Montgomery County and the City of Amsterdam held a food drop.
The Soldiers are among 3,600 members of the New York Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Naval Militia, and New York Guard, the state defense force, on duty in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The troops who showed up at Amsterdam’s Veterans Field Park are assigned to Joint Task Force 3, which is operating from Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, N.Y. The New York National Guard has stood up six geographic task forces and two focused on specific missions to organize the response.
The Guard Soldiers took pallets of food and broke the items down into individual meals for 1,000 people, explained 1st Lt. Mike Flicking, a member of Headquarters Company, 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and the officer in charge of the operation.
The food was provided by the Regional Food Bank of Northern New York and the event was organized by city officials.
“You’re gonna see a bunch of people come here today that are very stressed and they need some help,” said Michael Cinquanti, the mayor of Amsterdam.” The city and a bunch of great organizations are doing what we can to relieve that stress.”
“We have three stations. They will drive thru and we will direct them to each station. We will load the back of their vehicles, maintaining social distances, and then they will exit, “Cinquanti explained.
The Soldiers working the mission wore the appropriate protective gear and maintained social distance as they broke down pallets and set up an assembly line to prepare meal packages.
Local New York State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara also showed up to help distribute food.
“It feels great to be doing something hands on to help the community. My guys and girls are super motivated and happy to be here,” Flicking said.
This was the second food distribution day Amsterdam had held, but having the Guard Soldiers present made this effort more effective, the mayor said.
“Thanks to the National Guard I think we’re going to be able to serve more people today than we did the last time. It’s going to be a good thing. I just see what these military members are doing here and they do it so well,” Cinquanti said.